We’re down to the final game of the college basketball season, so no surprise which game we’ll be looking at in this spot, as Michigan and Villanova battle it out for the NCAA championship.
The Wildcats are favored by 6.5 and the total on the game is holding pretty steady at 145.
Villanova was expected to be here and while they haven’t looked impressive at times down the stretch, that wasn’t the case against Kansas, as the Wildcats were solid and cruised to a 95-79 victory over the Jayhawks. Despite Villanova looking flat at times, they have covered the spread in all five of their tournament games and are on an 8-1 overall run.
Villanova shoots better than 50% from the floor for the season and is 40% from beyond the 3-point line. The Wildcats’ foes averaged allowing 43.7% from the floor for the season, so the Wildcats are much better than average, which is reflected in their scoring average of 86.6 against teams who allowed 72.6 on the season.
Villanova’s defense is a bit underrated, bit the ‘Cats held foes to 6.2 fewer points than they averaged and below their season shooting average from the floor and in 3-pointers.
Michigan doesn’t get a lot of attention for its offense and that’s understandable, although perhaps not entirely fair. The Wolverines averaged 2.6 more points than their foes allowed despite averaging two fewer possessions than their opponents averaged, as the team hit on 46.9% of their field goals, which was 3.5% better than opponents allowed. They were also better at 3-pointers than their opponents allowed, but Michigan isn’t a very good foul shooting team, making just 66.2% of their free throws compared to 77.9% for the Wildcats.
The Wolverines do hold opponents to 12.1 fewer points than they average and do so by allowing 3.2% less than opponents average, both from the field and on 3-pointers.
Villanova gets a slight edge in strength of schedule, although it’s not overwhelming.
Using seven different sets of numbers, I have the Wildcats winning by 6.42 points, which for all practical purposes, is what the line is, so there’s no real edge from that standpoint.
The betting public loves Villanova in this game, which is understandable, given how they looked against Kansas and how Michigan struggled with Loyola until pulling away down the stretch to get the win and the cover. That basis alone would have me looking at the Wolverines in this one, but think Michigan can make a game of this one and will grab the points.